When I dock my taskbar vertically, why does the word “Start” disappear?


Because the alternative is even worse.

If the taskbar is not wide enough to display the entire word “Start”, then the word “Start” is hidden. To get it back, resize the taskbar wider until the word “Start” reappears.

This behavior is by design. From a design point of view, a partial word looks very broken.

Also, there is an apocryphal story of clipping text causing embarrassment during localization. The word “Start”, after being translated into some language, and then being clipped, turned into a rude word. (As an analogy, suppose the text on the Start button said “Start button”, but it got clipped to “Start butt”. Now you have to explain to people why they have to click on the “Start butt”.)

Comments (7)
  1. I get "SQL Query Anal…" button on my toolbar at work all the time.

    I have an unrelated question though. What is the algorithm that determines where an icon from a downloaded file is going to be placed on the desktop (given that the auto order thing is off)?

  2. I’ve noticed on my copy of XP it seems to take the cursor position at the exact point the download finishes, when I’m dragging and dropping from an FTP site. Which is often really confusing.

  3. Funny i use a vertical task bar and if i make it smaller it cuts the word, no elipse either.
    This may be a Win2k thing?

  4. Andreas Häber says:

    Here (Windows XP Pro) it removes the buttontext like Raymond writes, but the algorithm doesn’t look very good, IMHO. Seems like it first tries to write "Start" but after that decides that it couldn’t write the whole word and removes it. Is there some good reasons for this behaviour?

  5. Ryan says:

    Why is "the alternative" truncated text instead of vertical text.

  6. DavidK says:

    I have issues in XP with the quicklaunch icons on a vertical taskbar. Depending on the order I do things, they end up either full sized or small. If they’re small, they are not centered on the taskbar and it looks silly. So I ended up fenagling it until I got the large icons back. I don’t think the vertical functionality was tested that much :) (I’m sure not many run this way).

    As it is now, I have a narrow taskbar on the left, with just the windows logo for the start button, large quicklaunch icons, and my running tasks have just the small icon for the app, with no text. My systray, err, notification area can fit two icons next to each other, and I turned off the "AM/PM" on the time (otherwise it got clipped). It’s actually very clean looking, and (IMHO) a good use of space. If I have several, say, IE windows open, I can quickly tell which is which by the tooltip text.

  7. Tom says:

    My cousin was messing around with my cpu, now I can’t figure out how to dock the taskbar horizontally again! I have tried dragging, but there is no response.

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